08/01/2011 3:06PM

Saratoga: Apart looking comfortable on track

Justin N. Lane
Apart will make his next start in Saturday's Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – One of trainer Al Stall Jr.’s main concerns when he brought Apart to Saratoga this summer for Saturday’s Grade 1 Whitney was how his horse would handle the racetrack. Apart comes into the Whitney with 13 career starts, none of which have been at the Spa.

But after watching Apart train here for the past several weeks, including his easy half-mile breeze in 49.86 seconds with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard shortly after 6 a.m. Monday morning, any fears Stall might have had seem to be allayed.

“You always have to worry when you bring a horse to this racetrack for the first time,” Stall said. “We didn’t have that concern last year with Blame coming into the Whitney, because he’d already won the Curlin here the year before. But I think Apart really seems to like this big racetrack. I especially noticed it the last three or four days. With his big long stride, he looks very comfortable over this course.”

Apart did little more than stretch his legs Monday, going easily in splits of 12.86 seconds and 25.08 before coming home in 24.78 and galloping out in 1:03.86 over a track that was decidedly slower before the renovation break than after.

“I told Julien to go in 50 and he just about hit it perfect,” Stall said. “There’s nothing really to remark about the work, that’s how he normally blows out right before a race. This will be his sixth race this year, so we don’t have to play catch-up. We just have to get him to Saturday fresh.”

The only fear Stall may have at the moment is Wednesday’s post-position draw. A field of as many as 11 or 12 is expected to enter the Whitney.

“The draw gets important all of a sudden with the big field,” Stall said. “And like everyone else, I’m going to be hoping to draw something from the middle on in.”

Apart was the first of two important works for the Stall barn Monday. Several hours later, his top 3-year-old prospect J B’s Thunder breezed a half-mile in company in 1:00.80 from the gate as he continues to prepare for his 2011 debut. J B’s Thunder has not started since finishing ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

“I like to throw a gate work into a horse when they’ve been away as long as he has, just to let them know they’re a racehorse,” Stall said. “He worked well escorting a 2-year-old around there today and more than likely he’ll be ready to go by the end of the meet. Probably in a two-other-than allowance race on the turf.”

Flat Out on his way to Saratoga

Flat Out, runaway winner of the Grade 1 Suburban on July 2, will finally arrive on the grounds Tuesday afternoon, trainer Scooter Dickey confirmed. Flat Out, who has been preparing for the Whitney at Monmouth Park where Dickey is stabled for the summer, has turned in a pair of bullet works since his big effort in the Suburban, including five furlongs in 59 flat on July 25.

“I decided not to work him again this past weekend,” Dickey said. “I just two-minute licked him a mile on Sunday to get some stamina into him. He had his fast work last week, and he’s fit and ready to go.”

Turbulent Descent shipping in for Test

Flat Out won’t be the only horse shipping to Saratoga this week with designs on winning a Grade 1 race on Saturday. Trainer Mike Puype said Monday that his two-time Grade 1 winner Turbulent Descent will arrive here Thursday to assume her role as the favorite for the seven-furlong Test.

Turbulent Descent suffered only her second setback in seven career starts when shipping east to finish second behind It’s Tricky as the 3-5 favorite in Belmont’s Grade 1 Acorn on June 11. Turbulent Descent won the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet at 2 and the Santa Anita Oaks earlier this season.

“She had no excuse in her last race, she just got beat by that other filly who then came back and validated the effort up there last weekend,” Puype said from Del Mar on Monday. “A flat mile back east might be pushing it a little for my filly, and in a perfect world, I think seven furlongs is her best distance, so I really like the cut back in distance for the Test, which is a good r é sum é race for a filly and has been our goal and on our agenda all along.”

A field of seven or eight 3-year-olds is likely for the Test, and along with Turbulent Descent also could include American Lady, Ava K, Coax Liberty, Her Smile, Pomeroys Pistol, Roman Treasure, and Salty Strike.